SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – A “Salmon Run” sculpture for the Oregon Coast Aquarium’s new lobby, a trauma- informed media arts program for social justice nonprofits at Portland’s Open Signal and preservation of the rite of passage ceremony for Warms Springs’ youth receiving their Indian names – those are just a few of the important arts, heritage and humanities projects to be supported by close to $3 million in FY2024 grant allocations from the Oregon Cultural Trust.
FY2024 grant awards totaling $2,917,149 will be distributed to 136 arts, heritage and humanities organizations across the state, the Cultural Trust announced today. Made possible by generous Oregonians who invested $5.2 million in the Cultural Tax Credit in FY2023, this year’s awards bring the cumulative total of Cultural Trust grants to almost $40 million since its founding in 2001.
The FY2024 awards include a total of $728,759 to the Cultural Trust’s five statewide partners (Oregon Arts Commission, Oregon Heritage Commission, Oregon Humanities, Oregon Historical Society and the State Historic Preservation Office); and $728,759 to 45 County and Tribal Cultural Coalitions – who award an average of 450 additional awards annually in their communities.
In addition, $1,459,631 in competitive Cultural Development Program grants were awarded to 86 cultural organizations serving most geographic regions of the state.
“These awards will enrich the cultural life of every county in Oregon,” said Niki Price, chair of the Cultural Trust board. “Every year it is an honor to fulfill the vision of the Cultural Trust’s founders by ensuring our funding has broad geographic impact and benefits every part of the state.”
“Over the past few years we have added many new arts, heritage and humanities organizations to our roster of qualified cultural nonprofits,” said Brian Rogers, executive director. “It is heartening to see close to two dozen of them earn first-time grant awards this year. And because we truly wish we could fund every eligible application, we promise to continue working diligently to increase funding for culture in Oregon.”
The FY2024 Cultural Development Program award recipients feature 21 organizations receiving their first-ever Cultural Trust award, 45 percent of which are located outside of Portland. First time recipients include:
- Cumberland Community Events Center, Albany: $11,134
To support the preservation of the historic character of Albany's only Queen Anne church by repairing and restoring one of the building’s most distinctive features, the stained-glass windows.
- Flora School Education Center, Enterprise: $6,944
To support access to Flora School’s activities, inside and out, for disabled attendees, volunteers, teachers and students by building an elevated wheelchair ramp.
- Gather:Make:Shelter, Portland: $19,319
To support access for people experiencing houselessness to arts mentorship through a citywide sculpture project, public exhibitions and a mutual aid festival in downtown Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square.
- Rejoice Diaspora Dance Theater, Portland: $17,649
To support the creation and production of “Rites of Passages,” a new performance by Rejoice! Diaspora Dance Theatre that spans traditional and contemporary dance in celebration of Black history, present and future.
- Warm Springs Community Action Team, Warm Springs: $32,673
To preserve the rite of passage ceremony of the Name Giving Ceremony where Native youth receive their Indian Name. It will help families prepare for the giveaway part of the ceremony by hosting craft nights, food gathering trips and first-food processing classes. It will also provide a matching savings program to purchase other giveaway items. A local filmmaker will teach film and video production skills to create a movie to document and guide other families through this process.
.Wildlife Safari, Winston: $13,980
To support Wildlife Safari’s expansion of the use of its 300-seat outdoor theater, called the Safari Dome, by replacing stationary, aluminum bleachers (built in 1980) with new, retractable bleachers – increasing ways to use the space.
Other Cultural Development grant award highlights include:
- Artists Repertory Theatre, Portland: $32,584
To support the first season of Artists Repertory Theatre (Artists Rep or ART) programmed by Jeanette Harrison, the first known Native artistic director in the League of Resident Theatres.
- Coos Art Museum, Coos Bay: $19,754
To support the enclosure of the open loading dock at Coos Art Museum so that the museum can greatly improve shipping and storage. The project also creates an area for the museum to add ceramics workshops/classes to its public activities.
- Community Center for the Performing Arts, Eugene: $30,966
To support the Raise the Roof capital campaign for Eugene’s Woodmen of the World (WOW) Hall. Built in 1932, the National Register of Historic Places landmark was purchased through grassroots fundraising in 1975 by the Community Center for the Performing Arts to prevent demolition and continue its history as a community hub while preserving the incredible “floating” hard-rock maple dance floor (one of only three in Oregon).
- Friends of The Historic Union Community Hall, Union: $5,272
To support a community asset by repairing 14 high priority-stained glass windowpanes at the Catherine Creek Community Center located in Union, Oregon. The Catherine Creek Community Center is housed in a beautiful historic property and serves as a location for numerous community programs, events and resources.
- Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau, Grants Pass: $21,403
To support Friends of the Oregon Caves and Chateau in completing the Chateau's first Historic Furnishings Report. The report and its accompanying maintenance plan are vital elements to ensure that the restored and reopened Chateau remains a National Historic Landmark.
- Portland Playhouse, Portland: $26,274
To support the production of Anna Deveare Smith’s “Notes from the Field,” which draws on verbatim interviews to bring 18 voices into dialogue about the persistence of the civil rights crisis in American policing and education.
The 86 Cultural Development grant awards range from $5,000 to $35,171 with an average grant award of $16,972. Forty-eight percent of the 179 eligible applications were funded.
Cultural Development Program awards fund nonprofit projects that increase access to culture, invest in organizational capacity, support community creativity and provide historic preservation. Applications were reviewed and scored by peer review panels; final award amounts were determined and approved by the Cultural Trust Board of Directors at its Aug. 31 meeting. More than 60 percent of Cultural Trust funding (including awards to County and Tribal Coalitions) is awarded outside of the Portland Metro area.
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Created in 2001 by the Oregon Legislature, the Oregon Cultural Trust was established as an ongoing funding engine for arts, heritage and humanities across the state. Funding comes through the Cultural Tax Credit, which empowers Oregonians to direct more of the taxes they pay to supporting cultural opportunities for all. Oregon is the only state in the country that gives its citizens this choice. Sixty percent of the money goes directly to cultural organizations and agencies in the form of grants. The remaining 40 percent helps grow a permanent fund for culture. It’s described by the Oregonian as “A way to make paying state taxes satisfying.” Oregonians directed $5.2M of their state taxes to fund arts, heritage and humanities in fiscal year 2023. The Trust’s three grant programs fund five Statewide Partners, 45 County and Tribal Coalitions and qualified cultural nonprofits through competitive Cultural Development grants. Learn more at CulturalTrust.org.